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Wenger backs Italians in Europa League

Arsene Wenger believes that Serie A sides Juventus and Napoli should be counted as favourites for the Europa League.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has spoken out in favour of the Italian side's chances in the Europa League.

Both Napoli and Juventus were cruelly eliminated from the Champions League group stage despite coming close to qualification.

Napoli secured 12 points and beat Arsenal on the final day, while Juventus were headed through until conceding a late, controversial goal to Galatasaray.

This evening, Juventus take on Turkish outfit Trabzonspor, while Napoli travel to Swansea City's Liberty Stadium.

"Every year we discuss whether the teams who have been knocked out of the Champions League are automatically favourites for the Europa League," Wenger said on Eurosport.

"This year I would say that Juventus are and I don't think that they will have problems with Trabzonspor, but Napoli are also favourites against Swansea and in the competition in general."

Juventus boss Antonio Conte is expected to shuffle his squad this evening, while Napoli coach Rafa Benitez is waiting anxiously on the fitness of striking star Gonzalo Higuain. 

image: © Matt and Kim Rudge

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